If Insurance Gains Deeper Insight into Performance Data

If P&C Insurance is a major property and casualty
insurance company in the Nordic region, with its head office in Stockholm,
Sweden. If offers the full range of non-life insurance solutions for everything
from private individuals to major global companies. The company has
approximately 3.6m customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries, including
Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia. It has also had a
presence in Russia since 2007. If has 6,400 employees and in 2012 gross
premiums written totalled Swedish krona (SEK) 40bn.

Established in
1999, the company became a fully-owned subsidiary of Finland’s Sampo insurance
group in 2004. Sampo is listed on the NASDAQ OMX exchange in Helsinki. If’s
investment strategy is to maintain a balance between currency distribution and
durability and surpluses are re-invested, with the intention of increasing the
total return. The asset management unit within the If group provides
centralised management of the group’s investment assets and bank balances. The
investment accounting department’s role is to meet interested parties’ needs
for financial information on assets under management.

Challenges for Investment Accounting

If uses Wallstreet Suite
version 7.4 to manage its investments and cash flows through the front,
middle, back-office and accounting processes. The investment accounting
department also runs Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (E1) accounting
software. As part of the control function, the accounting team reconciles the
performance data against the accounting data on a monthly basis. This is done
by extracting instrument details, such as individual transaction data, from
Wallstreet Suite and comparing them against bookings in the accounting
system. This task used to be performed manually using a cumbersome and
time-consuming process of cut-and-paste.

Anita Enström, head of
investment accounting at If, says that “the cumulative amounts of data to be
reconciled for each instrument or transaction are large. For example, a single
bond, paying 12 monthly interest coupons, could generate over 100 rows of
data.” Apart from the time required to transfer the data manually, it was
also a repetitive, error-prone process, so the accounting team was anxious to
find a better, more efficient and more accurate way of working.

The  Reconciliation  Solution

If’s investment accounting team liked
the fact that the reconciliation module provided by SkySparc’s automated
integration and testing platform, SkyReport, offered an ideal solution for
automating the monthly performance data reconciliation between Wallstreet
Suite and If’s accounting system.

Automating the reconciliation
process has improved the transparency of If’s data, as well as the accuracy
and speed of the process. The data is presented in a format familiar to
accountancy professionals, meaning that specialist systems knowledge is not
required.

SkySparc consultants had previously worked with If during
an upgrade to Wallstreet Suite 7.4, when SkySparc tested data for migration to
the new production environment and also configured the data using SkyReport.
During the course of the upgrade work it became clear that, as SkyReport
offers an automated reconciliation module as standard, it would be the ideal
solution to improve both the speed and quality of the monthly reconciliation
between Wallstreet Suite and E1.

SkySparc’s consultants mapped
the instruments and transactions from the Wallstreet Suite configuration to
the E1 formats using their specialist knowledge of Wallstreet Suite, working
within SkyReport’s standardised and user-friendly format. When the
reconciliation is run, the data from Wallstreet Suite is matched against the
transactions recorded in E1, and any discrepancies that fall outside the set
tolerances are flagged up.

An element of fine-tuning was needed to
ensure the parameters were appropriate and the presentation as clear and
logical as required. “SkySparc’s consultants were very supportive and
knowledgeable, ready with alternatives and solutions to every small issue,”
says Enström.

Results of the Implementation

Following a testing phase, the reconciliation process was ready to go live.
Today, If’s investment accounting department can extract the data it needs to
perform the monthly performance data reconciliation ‘at the touch of a
button’.

In addition to automating the process, speeding up the
reconciliation and reducing errors, there are further benefits as a result of
the project: “The quality of the reconciliation report from SkyReport is
excellent and consequently we have a faster process and better understanding
of the data,” says Enström. She adds that the solution makes the data more
transparent as well as providing good control and oversight, allowing, for
example, some differences to be accepted or rejected on a case-by-case basis.

Enström and the team also appreciate the fact that the process can
be run each month within the investment accounting department without the need
for any specialist systems expertise. This is due to the fact that SkyReport
fetches the data from Wallstreet Suite and presents it in a familiar format.
“It’s very easy for us accountancy professionals to use,” she says, adding that
in future the time needed to complete this task is likely to reduce to less
than an hour.

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